The IRS, Politics, and Income Inequality

7 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2016 Last revised: 7 Jun 2016

See all articles by Leandra Lederman

Leandra Lederman

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: March 17, 2016


The IRS is in crisis. In recent years, Congress has cut its budget significantly, piled on the workload, and conducted oversight hearings that were often quite partisan. The IRS needs more funding to carry out its mission. For that, it needs Congressional support. Unfortunately, bashing the IRS generally scores political points, while supporting tax collectors does not. However, research suggests that inadequate enforcement of a progressive tax system may actually increase income inequality. Accordingly, Congressional supporters of progressive taxation should use the fight against rising income inequality as a rhetorical tool to help the IRS receive more balanced treatment.

Keywords: IRS, income inequality, progressive taxation, Congress, Internal Revenue Service

JEL Classification: D31, E62, H20, H30, K34

Suggested Citation

Lederman, Leandra, The IRS, Politics, and Income Inequality (March 17, 2016). Tax Notes, Vol. 150, No. 11, 2016, Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 341, Available at SSRN:

Leandra Lederman (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States
(812) 855-6149 (Phone)
(812) 855-0555 (Fax)


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